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Friday, December 27, 2013

Nature, Nurture, & Ideology

Confucius said that by birth people are almost the same, but by habit, they become very different.

For any religion or ideology, there is no common trait in the background of the its members. In any tribe or creed, you will find rich, poor, happy, melancholy, outgoing, shy, young, old, more besides and everything in between.

Ideology and religion then are not inherited, but are habits. It is fair to say that initial outlook is almost always the outlook of the parents or community, but rebellion is likewise nearly certain.

So why do people adopt the political and religious beliefs they adopt? I have a few educated guesses. There are three major splits as far as worldviews go. The first is the thinker vs. feeler axis, loner vs. joiner axis, and believer vs. cynic axis. Of course, there are no pure thinkers, feelers. loners, joiners, believers, or cynics, but almost everyone lies close to one side or another.

Thinkers like to judge things by looking for facts and weighing them out. Feelers go by gut instinct and first impressions. Loners prefer the freedom of solitude while joiners prefer the safety of numbers. Last, believers feel human nature is essentially good and others can be trusted while cynics believe human nature is naturally bad and seek defense.

This model gives 8 basic ideological archetypes based on T or F, L or J, and B or C. I'll further postulate that in general, there is a moderate to strong bias towards F, J, and C. People tend to feel rather than think because thinking requires more effort. Joining is also more popular because there is a desire for acceptance. And the prevalence of religion and belief in heaven and  hell show that most people believe good conduct is the result of carrots and sticks rather than good nature.

TLB and to a lesser extent TLC tend to be libertarians. They like ideas and clear-cut evidence. They tend not to join groups and are often contemptuous of those who do. The more cynical tend to towards anarchism while the others see things like the Constitution and/or religion as reliable but imperfect guideposts.

TJB and TJC are the mostly secular and somewhat religious conservatives. They both prefer the security of a political party and existing customs but differ in  the importance they attach to religion. TJCs feel strongly about things like school prayer whereas TJBs worry more about taxes.

 FJB and FJC are the hard left and the hard right. You can tell these two by the way they answer questions by saying "I just feel..." and/or often getting angry when others disagree with them. The FJBs think we can all be one big happy family and the FJCs think the country should be run like an English boarding school. The mascot for FJCs is this woman:

And last we have FLB and FLC. FLBs tend to be lefty, artistic types or vagabonds/hippies. FLCs tend to be lefty rebels, muckrakers, bad* comedians, and MSNBC hosts. FLBs love talking about their latest project or insight. FLCs often complain about Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and crimes against political correctness.

*The kind that thinks political humor begins and ends with mocking Republicans and/or Christianity

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